Town of Milford moves forward on Mass. casino planAP , Associated Press
Aug. 6, 2013 11:46 AM ET
MILFORD, Mass. (AP) — The Milford Board of Selectmen has voted to negotiate with the operators of Connecticut's Foxwoods casino, who want to open a $1 billion resort casino in the Massachusetts community.
The board voted 2-1 Monday to move forward with negotiations, with Chairman William Buckley cast the dissenting vote. He said Foxwoods officials have not provided enough information about the proposed 660,000-square-foot resort that would be at the intersection of Interstate 495 and state Route 16, particularly traffic and water and sewer issues.
"The traffic I don't buy for a second and the water reserves are certainly an issue," he said.
Selectmen Brian Murray and Dino DeBartolomeis voted in favor of negotiating.
"We have a framework to work around," Murray said. "To me, this agreement will be about the nuts and bolts of the issues. If it's viable, it'll be done."
Informal negotiations between Foxwoods and town counsel Gerald Moody have already started, Murray said.
The Milford project's chief development officer, David Nunes, said he was pleased with the vote.
"It's a give and take and we're going to have to arrive at a happy medium," he said. He said the concerns will be worked out.
If an agreement is reached, a town referendum would be held in November and the 187-acre plot of land would have to be rezoned. The casino also needs the approval of the state gambling commission.
Despite the vote, casino foes vowed not to give up.
"Given the incomplete status of the impact evaluation, we contend that selectmen do not have sufficient independent information" to negotiate, said Casino-Free Milford Co-Chairman Steven Trettel.
Massachusetts gambling law allows for up to three casinos in different geographical areas of the state, and one slots parlor.